2002 WILL BE REMEMBERED AS YEAR OF UNCERTAINTY BY FARMERS
"MONTGOMERY, Ala." The year 2002 may be remembered as one of uncertainty by most Alabama farmers. The weather always is a big question mark, but this year was especially unpredictable. In addition to the weather, farmers anxiously awaited passage of a new farm bill that would affect the crops they produce for years to come.
"Agriculture is so unpredictable, and this year is a good example of why the new farm bill is so important to farmers," said Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby. "A lot of our farmers thought they had a bumper crop made. Then the rains set in this fall late, and it just destroyed their crop, so they gathered just a small portion of it. Our new farm bill does give us some protection from this kind of disaster and also from low prices."
The year began with snow for some Alabama farmers, rain for others. But for many, especially those in south Alabama, a drought continued from the previous year. The United States Department of Agriculture declared a drought disaster for every county in Alabama, except for Mobile.
Baldwin County farmer Chad DeVine knows better than most that farming is an uncertain business. Earlier this year, he dodged the drought problems and thought he might harvest two bales of cotton per acre. It promised to be one of his best crops ever. Now, he's not sure if you can harvest his crop.
"Total, we've probably gotten about 30 inches of rainfall or more in the past eight weeks," DeVine said in early December. "It is disheartening to watch a crop all year and then have it ruined by the weather. But that's farming. It's always uncertain."